Posted: 03/12/2012 | Last updated: March 12, 2012 at 08:16 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team (2-10) returns to the East Coast after eight games in California as the Mountain Hawks will travel to take on Coppin State (0-12) on Tuesday and Delaware State (10-6) on Wednesday. Both games are slated to start at 3 p.m. Lehigh will look to snap its 10-game skid after facing some stellar competition on the program’s first-ever trip to the West Coast.
Lehigh dropped a three-game set vs. No 25 Cal, which marked the Mountain Hawks’ first ever games against a team from California and Lehigh’s furthest trip west since playing McNeese State in Lake Charles, La. to start the 2004 season.
The Mountain Hawks fell to San Jose State, Utah, Santa Clara and Columbia while playing in San Jose and Clara.
Despite some tough results, Lehigh had some stellar individual performances. Sophomore first baseman/designated hitter Tyler Brong hit .348 on the trip and leads the Mountain Hawks with a .313 batting average. He is also tied with senior infielder Ryan Gajdos with a team-leading 10 hits. Junior infielder Brandon Sady also had a nice west coast swing, hitting .300.
Senior right-hander Cory Kent through 8.1 innings on the trip, including one start in which he went 6.0 innings and allowed just two earned runs and struck out six against a very good Santa Clara team. Kent not only got the job done on the mount, but at the plate as well. In the third game against Cal, Kent hit a pinch-hit three-run home run in the eighth inning in what was only his second-career at-bat.
Lehigh will look to rebound Tuesday against a Coppin State team that will be looking for its first win on the season. The Eagles are a young squad that features just two seniors on their roster. Offensively, Coppin State is led by freshman catcher Alex Brown who leads the team with five RBIs, four of those coming in a game vs. BIG EAST opponent Georgetown in which the Eagles fell 17-11. Freshman Jordan Ellis leads the team hitting .292. The Eagles have struggled at the plate recently, scoring just two runs in their previous six games.
Tuesday will mark the 10th meeting between Lehigh and Coppin State as the Mountain Hawks dominate the all-time series 9-1. The two schools met last season on Goodman Campus in which Lehigh won swept the three-game series 4-2 in 10 innings, 9-2 and 9-2.The Mountain Hawks’ lone loss to the Eagles came in 2010 in a 6-5 decision in Aberdeen, Md. at Ripken Complex. Coppin State will return to Goodman Campus on April 17 to face Lehigh.
Lehigh will then take the field the following day against a Delaware State team that enters the game on a four-game winning streak, coming off a 10-6 eight-inning win vs. Delaware and then a sweep of Norfolk State. The Hornets were picked to finish first in the 2012 MEAC Northern Division with 10 of 18 first place votes while senior shortstop Scott Davis was selected as the league’s preseason Player of the Year.
At the plate, Delaware State is paced by sophomore catcher Eddie Sorondo who leads the team hitting .438 and also has nine RBIs. Junior infielder Ryan Haas leads the team in hits (21), doubles (7) and RBIs (16) while batting .368.
On the mound, the Hornets sophomore righty Matt McClain and senior righty Jordan Elliot lead the way. McClain is 1-2 with a 1.80 ERA and has two complete games in four starts, allowing just five earned runs in 25.0 IP while featuring a 2.6-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Elliot is 2-1 with a with a 2.10 ERA in four starts, allowing six earned runs in 25.2 IP and a team-leading 17 strikeouts.
Wednesday will mark the 21st meeting between Lehigh and Delaware State as the Mountain Hawks hold the narrow 11-8-1 all-time edge. Most recently, the schools met last season as Lehigh dropped both games; 11-6 on March 2 in Dover, Del. and 5-0 on April 6 on Goodman Campus. Delaware State will travel to Bethlehem on April 4.
Live stats will only be available for the Delaware State game Wednesday.
Lehigh will return to Goodman Campus this weekend for its home opener as the Mountain Hawks host Iona for a four-game set with doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday. First pitch is set for noon both days with game two starting at 2:30 p.m.